Congratulations on one of the most important and emotional decisions of your life!
Marriage is a sacred act, ordained by God, blessed by Jesus Christ, to be held in honor by us all. Spiritually, the words and actions of this celebration create a covenant between you and God, transforming your identity from individuals to unity. This event is more than "going through a ritual," your wedding is a sacred vow, wherein you make a public profession of your faith in God, your commitment to each other, and define your relationship.
Every person formed and blessed by God is unique. Every couple is unique, living differing expectations, patterns and priorities from any other couple. Consequently, your wedding needs to be a unique celebration, which affirms and serves the faith and relationship you are creating. This celebration can be as elaborate or simple as you like.
Your “Wedding Day” calls up all the dreams and concerns you have ever had about getting married. This is a defining moment, in which you take responsibility for the relationship you will have as a couple, and all your future relationships with family and friends. The more decisions you can resolve as a couple in consultation with the pastor, the more control you will have over your wedding and marriage. At the same time, the more you can distribute specific jobs and responsibilities to individuals (passing out Bulletins, distributing boutonnieres, recording presents, etc.) the more support and ownership friends and family will demonstrate for your being married.
It is not necessary to be a member of this congregation, or denomination in order to be married at First Presbyterian Church, however you need to respect that this is not a Hall being rented, but our House of God entered for your celebration. There are several fees waived for members, who through membership have already provided for the establishment of this Church. If you are interested in becoming members of this congregation at anytime, please contact the pastor about this.
Because we take this celebration as a sacred responsibility before God, because we endeavor to make each celebration unique, because we have many weddings each year, and weddings are only a small part of the life of the Church, you will need to give as much time to planning your wedding as possible.
The staff will make every effort to accommodate your desires; however, you will need to contact the Church Office, for scheduling the date and time of your wedding and wedding rehearsal, before establishing any other details. Ordinarily, weddings do not take place before 11:00am nor after 7:00pm; usually on a Friday or Saturday, to accommodate your Out of Town guests; and do not take place on Christmas, Easter, or during Holy Week.
The pastor will meet with the couple at least three times prior to the wedding. The purpose of these meetings is to assess the couple's readiness for marriage, to discuss any concerns of either party, to plan all the details of the service.
THE PLACE OF WORSHIP
The Pulpit, Communion Table and Baptismal Font are the fixtures of the Sanctuary and need to be visible during the service.
Other ministers can be invited, by our pastor, to share in the blessing of the worship service with our pastor. Because this is our House of God, we do not rent out our Sanctuary for other pastors to use.
Soloists and accompanists are encouraged. Ordinarily, the Church Organist will play the pipe organ for all weddings, but experienced organists can also be used. Lists of musicians and vocalists are available from the Church Office.
Alcohol and smoking are not permitted in the Church building or in any of the dressing rooms. The throwing of rice, confetti or birdseed is not allowed, due to liability.
The couple may wish to use the traditional vows and wording of the ceremony, or may write their own service with the guidance and approval of the pastor. There are natural places in the service for readings and musical solos, which the pastor will describe. If the couple is comfortable with standing before the congregation, it is recommended that for the profession of their vows, the couple stand behind the Communion Table facing the congregation.
The Marriage service ordinarily lasts about half an hour (30-45 minutes).
The Wedding Rehearsal takes place the day prior to the Wedding, lasting One hour and providing all the participants in the Bridal party the opportunity to feel comfortable with their roles and responsibilities. All of the participants in the Bridal party: parents, bridesmaids, flower-girls, ring-bearers, ushers, readers need to attend this rehearsal.
The pastor's role includes:
Providing appropriate parameters within Christianity and the Presbyterian Church. Suggesting alternatives, which might be considered for how elements take place. Counseling to allow the couple to hear each other's concerns and consider issues. Advocating for the rights and responsibilities of the couple to friends and family. Liturgical planning for the smooth flow and celebration of your faith and love.
As the pastor counsels with you, guides you through your marriage service and signs the license, the pastor establishes a relationship of blessing with you. Throughout the years as your marriage grows, please keep in contact with the pastor, calling upon him for continued counsel, arbitration with family members, baptism of children and anniversary celebrations in which you renew your marriage vows.
The pastor will work with the couple on selecting readings, which will add to and accentuate their wedding service.
Several passages especially appropriate for weddings are:
- Genesis 2:20-25 Adam & Eve are bone of bone and flesh of flesh
- Genesis 24:61-67 Isaac and Rebekah's Love at 1st Sight
- Ruth 1:16-17 Wherever you go I will go
- John 2:1-11 The Wedding at Cana
- Use of Church - Church Members $500, Non-Members $1,000
- Organist - Wedding and Rehearsal $200
- Minister - Members Discretionary, Non-Members $200 (Includes pre-marital counseling, rehearsal and wedding.)
PREPARATION FOR THE WEDDING
Traditionally, the Groom's parents are seated following the last of the guests, then the Bride's mother is seated, the candelabras are lit. Then the pastor leads the Groom and his attendants into the Sanctuary from outside the Chancel; the end Bridesmaid enters first, then each in turn comes forward to the Table. When the Bride enters, the mothers lead the congregation in rising, with the Bride escorted by her father as far as his seat; the Groom then joins the Bride and the couple then come to the Table together. Both parents of the Bride could also escort her up the aisle.
Another traditional processional has the Ushers and Bridesmaids entering up the aisle together, the Groom and Bride could each be escorted by both their parents, respective.
The attendants may also come up as escorted pairs.
UNITY WEDDING CANDLE